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Virtual network operators want to ally with more than one telecom operator, Trai seeks views

VNOs have requested the Department of Telecom to allow them to take connectivity from a telecom operator for wireline services and others for wireless services

Our Special Correspondent New Delhi Published 26.02.24, 11:28 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

Telecom regulator Trai has sought the views of stakeholders on allowing virtual network operators (VNOs) to tie up with more than one telecom operator (telco) to offer wireless and wireline services.

At present, a virtual network operator (VNO) can partner only one telco to offer its services .

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The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has released a consultation paper on “Connectivity to Access Service VNOs From More Than one NSO (network service operator or telcos)” following reference made by the Department of Telecom based on representation made by VNOs. It has invited comments from interested parties by March 22 and counter comments by April 5. “The authority is issuing this consultation paper for soliciting comments of stakeholders on the issues related to connectivity to access service VNOs from more than one NSO,” Trai said in the paper.

VNOs have requested the DoT to allow them to take connectivity from a telecom operator for wireline services and others for wireless services.

VNOs need help in cases when they take connectivity from an operator who is providing only wireline services in that area. They have no option to provide wireless services in that area because of existing restrictions.

VNOs have requested that their peers who intend to provide wireline services only be required to take connectivity from more than one telecom operator because in some cases partner telecom operators may not have services in some areas where the VNO wants to provide its services.

The regulator has sought consultation on the appropriate number of NSOs with whom VNOs having access service authorization and providing wireline services can be permitted to take connectivity in a licensed service area (LSA);

VNOs providing both wireless and wireline services can be permitted to take connectivity from one telco for wireless services and another for wireline services.

A virtual network operator including a mobile virtual network operator is a service delivery operator who does not necessarily own the underlying network(s) but relies on the network and support of the infrastructure providers, telecommunication suppliers/operators for providing telecom services to end users/customers.

Analysts said VNO can play a crucial role in ushering data revolution and a huge uptake in data-based services. This will be essential for ensuring the existence of adequate competition in the market as well as making telecom service more affordable. VNOs are capable of unleashing a new telecom revolution in the Indian telecom industry and taking it to the next level of growth, catalysing the government’s digital initiatives.

The VNOs/MVNOs can provide customised products in highly penetrated markets, improve penetration in rural areas and smaller cities and play a pivotal role in the smart cities programme.

The regulator last week recommended that calling name presentation supplementary service be introduced in telecom network and that the service involving display of caller names on phones be offered by all telcos to subscribers on request.

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